Torch - Fall 2015

Anna Shinn Grade 11 student Anna Shinn is the GTA Youth Organizer for Amnesty International, the High School Committee Lead for the Canadian Red Cross and a member of the Base Executive Committee for Dreamation. She facilitates workshops for peers interested in humanitarian and human rights issues across the city and has learned how to adapt her leadership style to her audience. “I think that being a good leader is about paying attention to the group you’re working with and finding unique ways of engaging with them, and then moulding your approach to their specific needs,” says Shinn. “I enjoy facilitating workshops because I learn a lot about how different people think. I love how they come up with conclusions that I never thought of.” Last year, Shinn used these skills to bring together a group of her peers to form a Red Cross Group at Havergal to discuss humanitarian issues around the world, specifically those affecting women and children. Shinn and her team will continue to build on what they learned last year to expand their impact. “I’ve learned more about myself through my role as a leader than through other activities,” says Shinn. “I’ve discovered that leadership is not about telling a group of people what to do, it’s about giving people a platform and the support to figure it out themselves.” Clare Morneau When Grade 11 student Clare Morneau learned about girls living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, she wanted to understand their stories. Kakuma is run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). With a fluid population of more than 150,000 people escaping conflict in countries like Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, Kakuma is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Because Kakuma is well-established, and refugees are not permitted to work in Kenya, UNHCR provides education, health care and basic food to its occupants. Morneau’s vision began as a partnership that connects Havergal students with girls who live and attend school in Kakuma. Her goal was to open up different perspectives of life for both groups. Last year, Morneau brought together a group of her peers to explore ways of connecting with the girls at Kakuma. Students exchanged letters and Skyped with one another, sharing thoughts on everything from the weather to the girls’ education. Morneau spent the summer writing and compiling the correspondence into a book she plans to publish early next year. For her, the relationships she has formed with the girls at Kakuma have guided her along this journey. “Leadership to me is forming a connection with the people I am working with,” says Morneau. “Learning the stories of the girls at Kakuma has changed my approach from one of charity to one of friendship. For example, at first I wanted to collect books to send to the girls at Kakuma. Today I want to make sure that each one is addressed with a name and a personal message. It’s personal to me now.”


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